DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     October 5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 189

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        DILI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - The head of East Timor's Caritas Catholic charity and 20 of his workers returned safely to Dili on Monday after being reported dead weeks ago.

        Father Francisco Barreto and the workers had been hiding in the mountains outside Dili since anti-independence militias went on a rampage following an independence vote on August 30. Caritas Australia had reported on August 9 that Father Barreto and the others had been killed in the town of Suai by Indonesian soldiers.

        "We were devastated when we thought they had been killed," Caritas Australia's national director Tom Story said. "In the reports these are just facts and figures but to us they were real people. We are so grateful they have been spared," he said in a statement.

        Story said he planned to meet with them on Monday to discuss the rebuilding of East Timor. "They will play a key role in rehabilitation and rebuilding the community after they have recovered from their ordeal," he said. Story added that a benefit concert was planned for Friday in Sydney to raise funds for Caritas' work.

        Meanwhile, Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili plans to return to the city on Wednesday, after having fled for his life following an attack which burned his home and offices earlier last month. Dozens of people sheltering at the residence were reportedly killed in the attack supported by Indonesian soldiers.

        Australian Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove, commander of the international force in East Timor, said enormously popular Bishop Belo would be protected when he returned. "We know that he's a very significant figure. He has been an important rallying point for East Timorese for a number of years and no doubt there will be keen interest in his visit," Cosgrove said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 5, 1999       volume 10, no. 189


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